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In order to
BO O K were necessary for maintaining that station. En
gland was growing into reputation for naval power. 1559. The marine of France had been utterly neglected ;
and Scotland remained the only avenue by which
the territories of Elizabeth could be approached. Resolve to It was on that side, therefore, that the Princes of England. Lorrain determined to make their attack®; and, by
using the name and pretensions of the Scottish Queen, they hoped to rouse the English Catholics, formidable at that time by their zeal and numbers, and exasperated to the utmost against Elizabeth on account of the change which she had made in the national religion.
It was in vain to expect the assistance of the this, necessary to Scottish Protestants to dethrone a Queen, whom dieck the all Europe began to consider the most powerful
guardian and defender of the reformed faith. To Scotland. break the power and reputation of that party in
Scotland became, for this reason, a necessary step towards the invasion of England. With this the Princes of Lorrain resolved to open their scheme. And as persecution was the only method for suppressing religious opinions known in that age, or dictated by the despotic and sanguinary spirit of the Romish superstition, this, in its utmost violence, they determined to employ. The Earl of Argyll, the Prior of St. Andrew's, and other leaders of the party, were marked out by them for immediate destruction"; and they hoped, by punishing them, to intimidate their followers. Instructions for this purpose were sent from France to the
Reforma. tion in
Collect. i. 253. 269. 279. 404.
f Ibid. i. 152.
Queen Regent. That humane and sagacious Prin-B O OK cess condemned a measure which was equally violent and impolitic. By long residence in Scotland, 1559. she had becoine acquainted with the eager and impatient temper of the nation ; she well knew the power, the number, and popularity of the Protestant leaders; and had been a witness to the intrepid and unconquerable resolution which religious fervour could inspire. What then could be gained by rousing this dangerous spirit, which hitherto all the arts of policy had scarcely been able to restrain ? If it once broke loose; the authority of a Regent would be little capable to subdue, or even to moderate, its rage. If, in order to quell it, foreign forces were called in, this would give the alarm to the whole nation, irritated already at the excessive power which the French possessed in the kingdom, and suspicious of all their designs. Amidst the shock which this might occasion, far from hoping to exterminate the Protestant doctrine, it would be well if the whole fabric of the established church were not shaken, and perhaps overturned from the foundation. These prudent remonstrances made no impression on her brothers ; precipitant, but inflexible in all their resolutions, they insisted on the full and rigorous execution of their plan. Mary, passionately devoted to the interest of France, and ready, on all occasions, to sacrifice her own opinions to the inclinations of her brothers, prepared to execute their commands with implicit submissions; and, contrary to her own judgment,
& Melv. 48. Mem. de Castelnau, ap. Jebb, vol, ii. 446,
BO O K and to all the rules of sound policy, she became the
instrument of exciting civil commotions in Scot1559. land, the fatal termination of which she foresaw
From the time of the Queen's competition for the gent alters
regency with the Duke of Chatelherault, the Poduct with pish clergy, under the direction of the Archbishop the Pro- of St. Andrew's, had set themselves in opposition to testants, all her measures.
Her first step towards the execution of her new scheme, was to regain their favour. Nor was this reconcilement a matter of difficulty. The Popish ecclesiastics, separated from the rest of mankind by the law of celibacy, one of the boldest and most successful efforts of human policy: and combined among themselves in the closest and most sacred union, have been accustomed, in every age, to sacrifice all private and particular passions to the dignity and interest of their order. Delighted on this occasion with the prospect of triumphing over a faction, the encroachments of which they had long dreaded, and animated with the hopes of re-establishing their declining grandeur on a firmer basis, they at once cancelled the memory of past injuries, and engaged to second the Queen in all her attempts to check the progress of the Reformation. The Queen, being secure of their assistance, openly approved of the decrees of the convocation, by which the principles of the Reformers were condemned; and at the same time she issued a proclamation, enjoining all persons to observe the approaching festival of Easter according to the Romish ritual.
As it was no longer possible to mistake the
« The pro
Queen's intentions, the Protestants, who saw the B O O K danger approach, in order to avert it, employed the Earl of Glencairn, and Sir Hugh Campbell of 1559. London, to expostulate with her concerning this change towards severity, which their former services had so little merited, and which her reiterated promises gave them no reason to expect. She, without disguise or apology, avowed to them her resolution of extirpating the reformed religion out of the kingdom. And, upon their urging her former engagements with an uncourtly but honest boldness, she so far forgot her usual moderation, as to utter a sentiment, which, however apt those of royal condition may be to entertain it, prudence should teach them to conceal as much as possible. mises of Princes,” says she, “ought not to be too carefully remembered, nor the performance of them exacted, unless it suits their own conveniency."
The indignation which betrayed the Queen into Summons this rash expression, was nothing in comparison of
preachers that with which she was animated, upon hearing to appear that the public exercise of the reformed religion had been introduced into the town of Perth. At once she threw off the mask, and issued a mandate, summoning all the Protestant preachers in the kingdom to a court of justice, which was to be held at Stirling on the tenth of May. The Protestants, who, from their union, began, about this time, to be distinguished by the name of the CONGREGATION, were alarmed, but not intimidated, by this danger; and instantly resolved not to abandon the men to whom they were indebted for the most valuable of all blessings, the knowledge of truth. At that time there pre
BO O K vailed in Scotland, with respect to criminal trials, a
custom, introduced at first by the institutions of vas1559. salage and clanship, and tolerated afterwards under a
feeble government: persons accused of any crime were accompanied to the place of trial by a retinue of their friends and adherents, assembled for that purpose fromevery quarter of the kingdom. Authorized by this ancient practice, the reformed convened in great numbers to attend their pastors to Stirling. The Queen dreaded their approach with a train so numerous, though unarmed; and in order to prevent them from advancing, she empowered John Erskine of Dun, a person of eminent authority with the party, to promise in her name, that she would put a stop to the intended trial, on condition the preachers and their retinue advanced no nearer to Stirling. Erskine, being convinced himself of the Queen's sincerity, served her with the utmost zeal; and the Protestants, averse from proceeding to any act of violence, listened with pleasure to so pacific a proposition. The preachers, with a few leaders of the party, remained at Perth ; the multitude which had gathered from different parts of the kingdom dispersed, and retired to their own habitations.
But, notwithstanding this solemn promise, the which they Quetn, on the tenth of May, proceeded to call to had relied. trial the persons who had been summoned, and,
upon their non-appearance, the rigour of justice took place, and they were pronounced outlaws. By this ignoble artifice, so incompatible with regal dignity, and so inconsistent with that integrity which should prevail in all transactions between sovereigns and their subjects, the Queen forfeited the esteem